My bags are packed. My bank account is closed. My bike's been sold off to a happy new Kiwi home. And I saw my last takahe.
This evening I'm flying from Wellington to Auckland. Then I have a quick 6500 miles to California, a teeny 9-hour layover in LA (where hopefully my Los Angeleno friend Alyssa will take me to the beach and feed me ice cream), and then another cool six hour flight across the country back to Pittsburgh, land of french fry salads.
I've already started my pre-travel routine: stress-eating, crying, drinking bad wine, and not sleeping. It's a very centering process for multi-day airport expeditions.
Exams are finally over (how many people forgot I was in school? I know I did. And then I had to take two exams over the weekend). All the exchange students are running out of time on their visas, and people are trickling away. We all tried to make our last week in New Zealand a good one, savoring our last cups of coffee and visiting zoos. But mostly it's been a week full of loaded goodbyes and repetitive conversations about flight schedules and airline food.
Like everyone else, I'm struggling to create significance with my last day (hence the goofy bird in the header photo instead of a dramatic Wellington sunset). Don't get me wrong - I've absolutely loved my time here. I've learned a lot, met heaps of amazing people, and seen some spectacular landscapes. It's been a wonderful break from reality. But my real life is still hanging suspended in the USA. Now I'm ready to start it again - to reconnect with my friends and family, do some real schoolwork, finish off my degree, and get serious about running again. I won't be cutting ties with New Zealand. I know I'm going to miss it as soon as I get home, so I'm definitely coming back here in the future. But right now I've got some unfinished business in Pennsylvania and Ohio.
So that's all I've got for now.
Peace out friends!
PS - Happy America Day! You should probably all go see the new Spiderman, because what's more patriotic than a cute guy in a red, white, and blue bodysuit? But really, it's awesome.